Project 535 brings politics home
My parents lived in John F. Kennedy’s congressional district. When JFK moved up to the U.S. Senate in 1952, Tip O’Neill decided to run for the open seat. He won the election and later became Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
By David R. Edelstein, MD, chair-elect, Board of Governors
My parents lived in John F. Kennedy’s congressional district. When JFK moved up to the U.S. Senate in 1952, Tip O’Neill decided to run for the open seat. He won the election and later became Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. Few know, however, that in 1936 he lost his first election to the City Council in Cambridge, MA, and he learned an enduring lesson: “all politics is local.” What does all this mean to the AAO-HNS? As physicians, we are voters, we are employers with large staffs, and we are in daily contact with patients who are constituents. In addition, many of you may know your lawmakers as neighbors, fellow civic volunteers, or through your practice.
The BOG Legislative Affairs Committee, in coordination with the Academy’s Legislative Advocacy team, wants to harness these relationships and sign up AAO-HNS Members in every Congressional district—435 in the House and 100 in the Senate. Project 535 will help establish key “grasstops” contacts—voting physicians with access to national leaders in every district. Such a resource is invaluable when we need to collectively advocate for national issues essential to otolaryngology-head and neck surgery, including scope of practice, truth in advertising, medical liability reform, GME funding, or Medicare reimbursement.
In 1936, O’Neill’s neighbor, Mrs. O’Brien, admonished him for not asking for her vote. He presumed that since he had shoveled snow for her as a teenager she would obviously vote for him. He learned you must never take for granted your local constituency as every vote counts. We should learn from his example.
Contact the AAO-HNS Legislative Advocacy team at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up to be the otolaryngology advocate for your Congressional district. Although our specialty is small in numbers, we can ensure every Member of Congress hears our voice!